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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

LAUGHING    TORSO

One day he was asked to the house of a very rich
man who was having a reception. He was intro-
duced to a woman with an exceptionally ugly but
interesting face. He said, " Madame, votre figure
rtfinteresse enormement: c'est la gueule la plus monstru-
euse queje n'aijamais vue mais interessante, admirrrable
du point de vue du dessin etje voudrais bien vous dessiner"
The poor lady was very embarrassed, but later, I
think, when she found out who he was, she sat for
him. Modigliani always said " Admirrrable " when
he saw something that pleased him. There was a
very striking woman who came to the Rotonde,
called Madame Bing. Her husband was Henry
Bing, who worked on Simplicissimus, the German
paper. She had a white face and short golden hair.
She wore a long black cloak and a black hat. I
asked her to sit for "me and I painted a life-size
portrait of her which was not bad (also mentioned
by Henri in the 'Egoist). Wassilieff liked it. I
did not paint Cubist pictures, although Leger
had given me two lessons and I had succeeded in
painting a life-sized nude torso; this certainly had
a certain influence of Cubism.
I had a studio in a courtyard in the Boulevard
Edgar Qjainet. It cost fifty francs a month, which
was at that time two pounds. It belonged to an
American painter called Lionel Walden. He
painted seascapes in the Hawaiian Islands, which
were a great success at the Salon and in America.
He had some plaster casts of legs and arms. I gave
a party one evening after I had sold a painting. We
dressed ourselves up in sheets and black draperies
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